Reality television fans met Nneka Ihim, 36, when she appeared on season 8 of the show “The Real Housewives of Potomac.” Ihim is a wife, attorney and entrepreneur. As a cast member on the show, she gave the world a glimpse into her life, marriage, new friendships and fertility journey.

“I would love to at least have two children, a boy and a girl,” Ihim told 21Ninety.

The Bravo star and her husband have been trying to conceive, but doctors can’t figure out why it hasn’t happened. According to the CDC, infertility affects 1 in 5 women with no prior births.

Unexplained Infertility

Ihim says when she and her husband, Ike, decided that they were ready to expand their family, she had no idea that it would take this long.

“I honestly thought it would be easy,” Ihim explained.

She uses an app to track her ovulation.

“Based on my app alone I feel like I’m ovulating this week. And I was just trying according to those dates,” Ihim said.

When ovulation tracking didn’t work, she started using ovulation strips. Still, after several months she still wasn’t pregnant.

“I’m like something must be wrong,” she said. 

At that point, Ihim asked her doctor to make sure everything was ok, especially since she had reached advanced maternal age.

“They went and checked my tubes. My tubes were perfectly clear. They did my blood work. Everything was perfect. Nothing was wrong,” Ihim explained. “And still I wasn’t getting pregnant.”

That’s when her doctor diagnosed her with unexplained infertility. According to The Cleveland Clinic, this term is used when tests don’t show any obvious reasons for infertility. 

Trying IUI

Being told that she has unexplained infertility was baffling for Ihim. “Textbook picture perfect,” is how she says her doctor referred to her uterus.

“I have a ton of eggs. My tubes are wide open. Every test they’ve run has come back above average. So there’s no cause or no known cause as to why I’m not conceiving,” Ihim said.

To cover all bases, Ihim’s medical team checked to ensure that her husband was able to reproduce, too.

“My husband has been tested as well and his swimmers are swimming,” she said. 

Trying intrauterine insemination or IUI was next on the list of ways to conceive. IUI is a treatment that places sperm directly into the uterus. The goal is to increase the chances of pregnancy.

“I thought it would work for me. It did not,” she said.

After two attempts with IUI and having a number of side effects from the medication, Ihim became discouraged and wanted to give up. Eventually, her doctor talked her into taking a different route.


In vitro fertilization Or IVF is a series of procedures in which eggs are taken from ovaries, fertilized by sperm in a laboratory, and then placed in the uterus. The first attempt at this process wasn’t completely smooth either.

“Two days before my scheduled egg retrieval, my follicles collpased,” Ihim said.

Ihim and her husband tried again. However, the second attempt at IVF was again unsuccessful. Now, Ihim is on her third IVF attempt and admits she is exhausted. 

Through all of this, Ihim remains hopeful. While a cause has still not been found for her unexplained infertility, Ihim’s doctor believes it could be related to stress. She says she is working to release as much stress from her life as possible. As far as finding other ways to have a child, Ihim and her husband have discussed surrogacy. He supports the idea but for now, Ihim wants to continue working on successfully carrying her own baby.